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How Long Should I Ice My Knee

Those Whove Had A Knee Replacement

Should I use Ice or Heat after a total knee replacement?

With a knee replacement, you will want to be sure to elevate your leg while icing. This helps cut down swelling and inflammation, which speeds up healing. While icing, lay on your back and prop your surgical leg with 3 or more pillows. DO NOT put pillows directly under your knee as this cause stiffness . Pillows should prop your heel. When icing, keep your knee as straight as possible. Your surgical leg must be elevated higher than your heart.

  • Once elevated, ice you 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Wrap ice in a tea towel, t-shirt, or thin cloth. DO NOT apply directly to skin .
  • Repeat icing at least 3-4 times a day. If you think you would benefit from icing more frequently, ask your doctor if this is a good idea.

How long to ice a knee after knee replacement surgery? Its important to keep icing daily in the first 90 days of surgery and beyond. As long as you have pain and swelling, icing is a great tool to overcome these recovery setbacks.

What Is Ice Therapy Or Cold Therapy

Ice has traditionally been used to reduce swelling caused by damage to the muscles, ligaments or tendons .

Its believed that ice reduces the tissue temperature and blood flow to the area, which helps to limit the bodys response to the injury, reducing inflammation and bleeding. It can also numb the area, reducing any pain.

For this reason it is thought to be effective in treating new injuries that have acute pain and swelling.

Apply Ice And Stay Calm

Now that you know how to ice your knee, you can move confidently in your favorite activities. Should you injure your knee, just follow the basic instructions and stay calm.

If you’re looking for some cold therapy or necessary aids to help with a knee injury, contact us. We’d love to help.

  • Ed Dezura

    How long can I leave the ice bandage machine onto my knee after replacement. .do I do 15-20 minutes every hour ?? Can you tell me a time frameThanks you

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When Heat Is The Answer

Seeing as ice and heat have such different effects on the body, its no wonder the two remedies are not interchangeable. So, when is heat the right choice for an injury? Here are some instances when heat is the best choice.

  • Old injuries: Whereas ice is best to soothe new injuries, heat is typically best for nagging injuries that are still causing you pain. For example, if you pulled a muscle in your shoulder last month and youre experiencing lingering discomfort, applying heat could help.
  • Soreness or aches: In general, if you would describe your pain as soreness or an achy feeling rather than a throbbing or sharp pain, heat is an excellent option to bring you some relief. For example, arthritis patients may experience ongoing aches in their joints.
  • Chronic muscle pain: If you have ongoing pain in a muscle, its likely because the muscle is tight and stiff. In these cases, heat may help relax the muscle. For example, if your job causes you to experience chronic pain in your lower back, you can treat it with heat.
  • Overuse injuries: Overuse injuries are one instance both ice and heat have in common. However, you should use heat to treat an overuse injury before you plan to use the affected area. Then, use ice after the activity.

Rice Therapy For Knee Pain

How long should I ICE my knee after knee replacement?

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help heal your aching knee.

Knee pain resulting from common strains and sprains can be treated at home by following a simple plan called RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Knee Pain: Rest

If you strain or sprain your knee, stop or reduce your activity level for a day or two. Depending on the severity of the knee pain, your doctor may also suggest that you avoid putting any weight on your knee for up to two days. If needed, crutches or a cane can keep you moving.

“The amount of time you rest varies,” says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. “We recommend and promote rest as part of RICE therapy for as long as you have to in order to get the swelling reduced and the pain to an ‘ooooh’ rather than an ‘ouch.’ Rest at least a week, but most muscle strains or sprains are micro-tears of the tissue, and that takes at least three weeks to heal. Don’t exercise or do the activity that caused the knee pain in the first place.”

Knee Pain: Ice

Use a bag of ice or cold pack on your knee four to eight times per day for 20 minutes each time. Don’t hold it on there longer than 20 minutes because it can cause frostbite. To be careful and more comfortable, surround the ice pack with a towel to avoid freezing the skin.

Knee Pain: Compression

Knee Pain: Elevation

Knee Pain: When to See a Doctor

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Should You Use Heat Or A Cold Compress On A Knee Injury

Last reviewed: Medically reviewed

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Applying heat and ice to an injury are commonly-used methods to treat pain and reduce swelling. The scientific evidence behind their effectiveness is limited — but some people find it helps.

There is a lot of debate around which method works best as each one has a different approach to treating an injury.

If youve hurt your knee, or your knee joint is painful, it may help to understand what these treatments are and how theyre used, to help you choose which option may work best for you.

A specific trauma to your knee will be treated differently to a long-term knee condition .

Causes Of Knee Arthritis

Knowing the risk factors may help prevent arthritis pain, though not all are avoidable. One of the most common reasons for an increase in the prevalence of knee arthritis is the increase in the aging population.

Some individuals are genetically more vulnerable to the condition. Females are also at higher risk of painful knee conditions.

Among the preventable risk factors are obesity, trauma, muscle weakness, frequent sprains and strains, mechanical stress on the joints, wrong posture while working, too much kneeling and squatting.

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Dos And Donts After Knee Surgery

After knee surgery, youll likely encounter challenges and pain on your path to recovery. While it may seem difficult, remember that what happens after your surgery is just as important as the surgery itself.

Here are some dos and donts to help you recover:

  • DO take rehabilitation seriouslyFollow your doctors instructions carefully after surgery. This includes performing all exercises prescribed by your physical therapist even if its uncomfortable. While you may experience some pain and frustration, stay positive and stick with it! The end result will be worth the effort. Experts say 50 percent of a positive outcome depends on the patients willingness to work hard in physical therapy and rehab. To help your knee heal properly, take your prescribed medications and get plenty of sleep.
  • DO use ice and heatAccording to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, swelling after knee surgery can last for three to six months. Ice packs are recommended to reduce inflammation and pain. Use three to four times a day for about 10-20 minutes during the first few days. After the initial swelling has gone down, alternate between ice and heat to relax the muscles and ease stiffness. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist if ice doesnt help, or if you want to try longer periods of ice or heat.
  • If you experience problems during recovery, call your doctor immediately for proper healing and to prevent further health issues.

    Avoid Common Mistakes When Icing Your Knee

    Icing At Night After A Total Knee Replacement – Should I Ice My Knee At Night?

    The purpose of icing the knee is pain relief. That being said, a sore knee requires attention and treatment, as opposed to icing only. When icing the knee, be sure to place a thin cover, such as a sheet, between the ice and the knee if your skin is sensitive.

    In addition, it is important to elevate your leg while icing the knee, in order to relieve the sensation of gravity on the limb as much as possible. Depending on the condition of the knee, elevating often relieves pain to a significant degree.

    It is also important not to leave ice on too long. Ice melts in contact with warm skin, leading to moisture build up.

    Skin may begin to macerate, or prune, and superficial irritation may cause further discomfort. Finally, it is vital listen to your body. A knee is most likely in pain due to specific physical and emotional conditions.

    Perhaps your muscles are tight, leading to uncomfortable movements and strains around the knee over time. In addition, absence of physical activity deprives the body of opportunities to circulate blood around the knee and replenish the tissues.

    The point is that your knee is letting you know that some part of your program isnt working. It is important to begin moving your knee is ways that dont hurt, and actually feel good. Simple exercises can be performed on a bed or in a chair, that will reduce pain help you understand the nature of your discomfort.

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    When Should I Seek Medical Attention

    While ice and heat therapy are a good way to give yourself some regular low-effort pain relief and can be a regular and important part of your self-care toolkit its a good idea to call your doctor if you experience new or worsening joint pain.

    This includes situations in which ice or heat previously worked well enough to relive your symptoms but doesnt anymore, Dr. Bose says. If youre not getting relief, it should trigger a warning bell, she says. Maybe theres something deeper inside, or this might need more systemic treatment rather than topical.

    These symptoms might mean your medications and other therapies arent working as well as theyre supposed to. It could indicate that your arthritis is progressing, Dr. Bose says. Either way, its better to know.

    Common Aches Pains And Soft Tissue Injuries


    Whether the result of a slip around the house or a misstep on the playing field, many of us have experienced a painful sprain or two. A sprain is a common sports injury that generally occurs in the wrists, knees, and ankles. Throughout the human body, tissues known as ligaments support joints by connecting bones to other bones. A sprain is the result of the tearing or stretching of one of these ligaments too far. Common sprain symptoms include swelling, pain, discomfort, and difficulty moving the affected joint or limb.


    While ligaments connect bones to other bones, tendons attach muscles to bones throughout the body. Overexerting a muscle or stretching a tendon or muscle too far can result in a strain. Muscle strains involving the lower back, legs, and shoulders are common. Typical symptoms of strains include pain, general stiffness, weakness, swelling, muscular spasms, and difficulty moving the affected area.


    While ligaments connect bones to other bones, tendons attach muscles to bones throughout the body. Overexerting a muscle or stretching a tendon or muscle too far can result in a strain. Muscle strains involving the lower back, legs, and shoulders are common. Typical symptoms of strains include pain, general stiffness, weakness, swelling, muscular spasms, and difficulty moving the affected area.

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    R Is For Rest

    I Is For Ice

    C Is For Compression

    E Is For Elevation

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    What Is The Best Way To Ice A Knee

    The best way toice your knee will depend on your injury. If you have recently had knee surgery talk with your doctor to learn how an ice wrap will help you recover. To get the fastest recovery, you should do the following:

    1. Apply Ice.

    Putting ice on an injured knee will help you almost immediately. Icing your knee helps to reduce any swelling and prevent inflammation. The ice should NEVER be applied directly to the injured knee. Wrap your bag of ice or cold pack in a paper towel or regular towel before applying on your knee.

    2. Move the Ice Around.

    The ice should never be left in one place on an injury. Return the ice frequently to the injured area in an ice massage. Passing the ice repeatedly over the injured area works gradually to reduce any discomfort without damaging any of the tissues around your knee.

    3. Elevate.

    Elevating your knee above your heart can reduce some of the swelling and pressure. It will also encourage red blood cells to start the process of healing.


    What To Consider When Selecting An Ice Pack

    Heat and cold treatment: Which is best?

    When you are looking tobuy an ice pack for your knee, you will need to select the type of brace and ice pack for the type of injury you have. There are specially designed braces for almost every type of injury. Buying the right option will make a huge difference in how well your knee injury heals.

    Here are a few options:

    1. Ice Pack or Compression Wrap.

    An ice pack or specially designed ice pack wrap works best to hold an ice pack in place. They can stay cold longer and will mold or form better around the injured knee.

    2. Frozen Package of Vegetables

    A bag of frozen vegetables, while not the best option, will work for a small injury that requires immediate attention. You can rotate bags in and out of your freezer and hold them in place.

    3. Instant Ice Pack

    These are a terrific option if you are out hiking or biking. They only require a squeeze to activate and are perfect for backpacking trips or accidents while hiking.

    4. Cryo Cuff

    It is something to have if you are an athlete or if you have just had knee surgery. They are a lot like a bandage with an ice pack inside, but they cover a wider area. Athletes who damage their knees during football or on track & field favor them as they wrap your knee and a good portion of the areas around it in an icy cool manner.


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    The Proper Icing Technique

    Follow these steps:

  • Get the ice on quickly. Icing is most effective in the immediate time period following an injury. The effect of icing diminishes significantly after about 48 hours. In an effort to reduce swelling and minimize inflammation, try to get the ice applied as soon as possible after the injury.
  • Perform an “ice massage.” Apply ice directly to the injury. Move the ice frequently, not allowing it to sit in one spot. Many athletes will perform an ice massage where they use a frozen block of ice and massage into the area of discomfort, to prevent prolonged direct contact of the ice to one specific location.
  • Don’t forget to elevate. Keep the injured body part elevated above the heart while icing this will further help reduce swelling. By moving you quickly through the inflammatory phase of healing, your body can more quickly enter the repair phase of your recovery.
  • Watch the clock. Ice for 15-20 minutes, but never longer. You can cause further damage to the tissues, including frostbite, by icing for too long. As mentioned earlier, performing an ice massage can be a safe and effective way to ensure skin and soft tissues are less likely to be damaged.
  • Allow time between treatments. Allow the area to warm for at least 45 minutes or an hour before beginning the icing routine again. Repeating ice application can be helpful as inflammation and swelling can be prolonged processes. Give your body a chance to recover between applications.
  • Go Slowly To Heal Quickly

    The key to success in this process lies in going slowly. You incrementally increase the movement and the weight on the joint. You need to be able to discern the difference between pain and discomfort at this point.

    Then, force yourself to push through discomfort. Never ignore pain, though. The difference between pain and discomfort varies from person to person.

    Pain means you’re sweating and your heart is beating hard. Discomfort is just uncomfortable but not distressing.

    Once you’ve protected the joint and then worked it, then you use ice, compression, and elevation to reduce inflammation.

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    What Happens If You Ice Longer Than 20 Minutes

    Greater than 20 minutes of icing can cause a reactive vasodilation, or widening, of the vessels as the body tries to make sure the tissues get the blood supply they need. Studies have also shown 30 to 40 minutes in between icing sessions are needed to counter this reaction.

    Ice Vs Heat For Injuries

    How to Properly Ice Your Knee
  • BlogIce vs Heat For Injuries
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    The human body is an incredible thing, but when you become injured, you may feel like your body is working against you. Whether youre a full-time athlete, an office worker or a senior enjoying your retirement, injuries are an inevitable part of life. The good news is that, while you may feel like your body is causing you problems, its working hard to overcome the injury. That said, there are some ways you can help it along. In some cases, our bodies become overzealous about healing an injury, which can cause excessive swelling and pain.

    So, how can you help an injury heal, all while keeping pain and inflammation down? Conventional wisdom says ice and heat can help accomplish these goals, but you may be asking yourself, Should I use ice or heat for pain? The answer depends on a few different factors, such as when you got injured, what type of pain youre experiencing and more. In this post, well talk about ice and heat, looking at how these two different types of therapy affect your body, when to use them and how to use them. Well finish with a pros and cons list for each method.

    Whether youve experienced an injury or you want to prepare for the future, keep reading to learn more about the best ways to use ice and heat to treat pain and injuries.

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